In 2007 the academy became a registered company Blackpool Music Academy Community Interest Company Ltd (BMACIC) by Guarantee. Within a year, John decided he wanted to enrol younger students to gain the benefits of his group sessions. He recruited Tom Vernon as a specialist tutor for students aged seven to 16 years of age and attracted over 80 youngsters for his affordable musical classes.
By September 2008, Blackpool Music School registered charity was born. This helped secure future funding for the community, and the BMACIC became the trading arm for the charity.
In 2009, Phil Roberts came on board and exams were introduced. Students have the choice whether or not they wish to study for one. For guitar and percussion the ‘Rock School’ syllabus is followed and for keyboard, piano and organ, either the ABRSM or ICMA syllabus is favoured.
In 2010 the Academy also commenced outreach work in Blackpool with the MIND Organisation, and more recently, helping care-home residents learn the keyboard. The Academy also helps the deprived and disabled with music therapy sessions including vocals, guitar and keyboard.
Always looking to improve and develop, John decided to relocate the BMACIC to its own premises. In 2011, with the help of Roy White, a £200,000 investment and the help of the Social Enterprise Loan Fund, the Academy invested in its own premises, with off-street parking, on Waterloo Road in Blackpool. However, tragedy struck in May, when Phil died of leukaemia. Such was Phil’s dedication to the academy, he was still teaching his students two days up to his death.
The newly acquired premises was derelict and required a lot of work to bring it up to scratch, both inside and outside. It also needed work to comply with Health & Safety and Fire Regulations. The building costs would be enormous, and so, with finances stretched to the limit, John decided to make some phone calls to seek some free legal advice about the mortgage.
After phoning more than 20 solicitors, who either declined to help or simply return his call, John got a positive response from Banks Carrington Solicitors in Blackpool town centre. Not only did they give John the free advice he was seeking, but also helped him set up the mortgage agreement and waived the legal fees.
Boosted by this act of generosity, John went on a mission to approach local businesses to appeal for any products, materials and labour to help transform the new premises into an academy to be proud of. To his amazement, 48 local businesses generously donated materials worth £45,000 to the academy!
On the back of this overwhelming support from the local business community, the BMACIC, along with the Blackpool Music School charity, opened the doors to their new home on Waterloo Road in June 2012.
The academy offers facilities to bands for recording video and music, a conference room with projector, stair lift, disabled toilet and Phil’s Coffee Shop, which is dedicated to the deceased former tutor who helped so much in making the school the success that it is today. The building is also used for community events, such as a Thursday Sing-along session with various entertainers and the Charity’s music shop, which sells various musical instruments.
Music was an inspiration to John Shaw, and he should be an inspiration to us all.